but should also try to avoid taking one off the dome.
August 2010 Archives
but should also try to avoid taking one off the dome.
For starters, she's pretty good.
Northern Illinois University freshman Lauren Wicinski of Geneva got her collegiate volleyball career off to a great start by earning all-tournament honors at the NIU Invitational and helped lead the Huskies to their first 4-0 start since 2003.
Wicinski led the team with 63 kills, 86.5 points and 18 aces. For that performance, she was named Mid=Amereican Conference West Division Offensive Player of the Week.
Northern capped its run through the tourney field with a dramatic five-set win over 2009 NCAA Tournament qualifier College of Charleston, in which Wicinski had 22 kills, 15 digs and two blocks.
Junior setter Kristin Hoffman of Batavia had a career-high 67 assists in the title match.
Out in the Suburban Christian Conference the city of Aurora has three teams - the Blue division champion Marmion Academy and the Gold Division champion Aurora Christian Eagles.
Those two programs are now Blue division rivals while Aurora Central Catholic hopes to get back on the winning track in the Gold division.
Follow us all year long on Twitter @SportsBeacon.
Up north, the Class 1A Mooseheart Red Ramblers plan to lean on some veteran leadership to help a young group of players to the playoffs.
Follow us all season long on Twitter @SportsBeacon.
Down in the Southwest Prairie Conference, Oswego East is trying to finally get on the winning track as a program while Oswego is hoping to build its way back up to a state title contender behind a Division I-level quarterback and tough defense.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter all season long @SportsBeacon.
The Knights have a real shot at making a run at the class 5A state title game while the Bulldogs hope to rebound from a tough 2009 season. The Vikings have been on of the winningest programs in the state the last handful of seasons, but they have many questions to answer heading into 2010.
Down south, Sandwich was a 5-win team last year that was left out of the playoffs while Plano hopes to regain its spot as one of the top small school programs in the state.
Yorkville is hoping this can be the season in which it returns to the playoffs behind a Division I-caliber left tackle and an experienced backfield.
Be sure to follow us all season long on Twitter @SportsBeacon
while this is hilarious - I can guarantee you he turns into like a 5-handicap...
It happens a lot in the newspaper business - we get a great story, we try as hard as we can to fit it all into print - but things get left out.
Fortunately, we now have mediums like this to give everyone their due.
Naperville natives and current San Diego Padre's and brothers Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Scott Hairston are in town to play the Chicago Cubs, and they took the time after a night game Monday and before a night game Tuesday to hold a camp for 155 kids that otherwise wouldn't get the opportunity to access not only two big leaugers, but coaches from the following organizations and schools:
Stan Zielinski (Chicago Cubs)
Aaron Nieckula (Kane County Cougars)
Tom Boatright (Aurora Flyers)
And assorted coaches and players affiliated with: Neuqua Valley, Waubonsie Valley, Metea Valley, Naperville North, Naperville Central, Marmion Academy, Aurora Central Catholic, Aurora Christian, Aurora University and Waubonsee Community College
We caught up with some of the participants after the camp and here is what couldn't make it into print.
On holding the camp:
"It's something that you always want to do, especially when you're in the position I've been fortunate to be in playing in the major leagues for the past 12 years or so. It's something that talking with Levelle Brown, the director of the Next Level Foundation, what is a way to give back to the kids of our community is set up this camp for them."
"Whether it's baseball, football or basketball, kids love sports and we need to give them an opportunity to have really good instruction and we were able to do this through our foundation. We had a tremendous amount of support from the coaches from around the area. Mark Lindo did a really great job. We had so many coaches and so many schools come out and support these kids so it was really good to see."
On doing it now:
"It's a little bit tougher in season and we only make one trip here to Chicago with the Padres so our time is definitely limited and that's why our coaches did a tremendous job in setting up this camp and really giving the instruction. Scott and myself came in and we just put our little 10 cents there and oversee it a little bit and send the kids a positive message that kids from this area can really succeed in athletics. Even though our time is kind of limited, we definitely wanted to come out and show our support."
Talk about the Next Level Foundation and what you and partner Chris Brown wanted to do with it
"The overall mission, as a whole, is to help kids in our area through the arts, through eduction and obviously through athletics. That's without question our message. And Chris does a tremendous job running his football camp and I definitely want to do my part and do the baseball side of things. And we want to give kids where we grew up that opportunity."
What was the day like?
"It was a really cool thing and what was impressive, for me, was the turnout with the kids and the coaches. We had a lot of coaches that took their time to teach these kids and that sent a great message. They need to be cared for and they need to be shown that, and that was the message today, that we care about their future and we want them to know that.
"When Jerry and I were kids growing up we had a lot of adults that cared about our futures so it was really good to spread the message that hard work pays off, no matter what you work toward. And if you have a good attitude as well. What we saw today was great. Kids today ages 6 to 13 were out, showed a great attitude and that was really, really nice to see."
Was there a favorite moment?
"What really struck out to me was there were kids helping each other out. A kid would hit one ball off a tee and a kid would step up and put another ball on the tee so that guy could hit again. We didn't have to tell them to cooperate. Normally you have to tell kids, 'alright this is what we're going to do and this is how we're going to do it' but they were willing to help each other out and that's what stood out to me. I was very happy to see that. A lot good happened today, and I was happy to be a part of it.""
Can you talk about the all of the coaches that came out?
"That was really impressive. There are guys who are married that took time away from their families to help these kids and that was just great to see. We had a lot of coaches and younger kids, 17, 18 that are in high school that came out and this will impact what they do in the future as well. I know it had an impact on me. I used to go with my dad to camps and that made me work harder seeing the little kids dream about becoming a baseball player.
Jorge Trejo, East Aurora varsity baseball coach
"It was a huge turnout. It was a great opportunity for all of us high school coaches and all the other coaches who were there. It was real nice because the kids responded well and that's what made it even more than what it was, the fact that all of us had four or five of our high school kids with us and they were helping out too. They were teaching and learning by coaching. It was a great three, four hours for everybody there. It was an awesome opportunity for everybody."
"(And) it worked both ways -- we were helping them but it re-energizes our day especially after a whole summer of baseball and reminds us why we're doing things. It was really humbling today. "
Dan Fezzuoglio, Waubonsie Valley varsity baseball coach
"It was a real neat experience to be involved with the community, but not just Aurora but all the local schools being represented."
"Even if this was happening without the Hairston's coming, this is still a neat experience because all the local high school coaches. That's pretty good to get out there and work with kids who cannot afford to go to a camp. Even though it was three hours, hopefully those kids got a little something out of what was given to them by instruction. But the kids seemed to enjoy it. You will never get a clinic where you get all these head coaches being in one spot -- we're all running our own camps (laughs)."
Back in the day, Fezzuoglio used to set up hitting machines for the Hairston boys when they were little, and he watched Jerry play against him while volunteering at Wheaton Warrenville South. He was able to share those memories with the Hairston's today...
"I thought they were very nice. They "get it" and what I mean by "get it" is being around their dad who was a major leaguer and they know how to handle themselves. They were very kind and patient with not just the kids, but with us too. It was pretty neat."
Mark Lindo, Naperville North assistant varsity baseball coach
"It was incredibly rewarding for all couple hundred people who were out there, including coaches, players and youth players and parents. It was a fun day."
"It was actually an inspiring day. Any coach that we contacted immediately said "when and where?" It was that kind of give back to the community kind of thing. It was so easy to organize the baseball aspect of it because Jeff (Hutchinson) and Levell (Brown) had done all of the administrative things and quite honestly we assembled the creme de la creme of coaches. When you have those people and those students out there working with you...It was neat."
"The little campers, the little guys and gals each got a baseball and they were getting autographs from all the coaches, not just the big league players. To see them all with a smile on their face and to learn the game. I saw some veteran coaches teaching these eight and nine year old young men and ladies like they were getting ready to be in the big leagues -- that's just the passion they have for the game. No one let down at all, yet you got such veteran people with such a great feel but they also had the balance of fun for the kids. There was a balance of teaching and fun."
"It's gratifying, humbling and all the area coaches were awesome."
Can you talk about Jerry and Scott?
"I thought Jerry and Scott did a tremendous but they literally went to every one of the six stations we had an talked to the kids at each station but literally went and thanked every coach for being there; a couple big league guys who played (Monday) and play (Tuesday) and drive out -- both their families are in Chicago and they leave their families to come out and give time."
"Their pictures were the ones hanging on the banners around the place, but I think that the coaches had such an impact on these young people that they developed a rapport. It was more about baseball and fun, and you've got to credit Jerry and Scott to that because they didn't try to take the limelight -- they were out there teaching bunting. Sometimes you see professional athletes and it's like 'Okay, I'm here, I'm making an appearance' but they were out there teaching bunting, they were out teaching base running, they were out thanking people for coming. That's the kind of gentlemen they are and that's why they're a credit to their profession and a credit to their families."
Robin Renner, Neuqua Vallley varsity baseball coach
On the Hairston's
"They just wanted to come out and help and do whatever they could do for baseball. That whole family is really the poster children for what I think baseball should be."
"There were three of us there and Tom Boatright came up to me and he said 'I can't believe what I'm seeing.' He says 'This is so cool that you guys can communicate and talk to each other and have fun even though you're rivals and you want to beat each other up. It's so cool to see' because most of the time you see an opposing coach and you walk the other way. But baseball is unique in the fact that we're a band of brothers and it's just fun stuff and we're all in it for the same reason, to help the kids and nobody thinks anything of it. It's just fun. It's just fun stuff being around each other."
"It was so cool. Just a lot of great baseball people. It was good to see everybody there and all on the same team."
So, Joe Posnanski thankfully brings to our attention some kind of MLB award called the "Heart and Hustle" award, which has been awarded since 2005.
In this story, Joe is astounded that Derek Jeter has never won it - but let's be real here - how could Mr. Fire and Passion himself not have won it?
Joe feels this award will one day be name for Jeter - but let's be real - Aaron Rowand is the true Heart and Hustle man of the majors...
University of Illinois alumnus D.A. Points finished up his delayed first round on Friday morning at 2-under par. He began his second round shortly thereafter and after six holes he had tied for the tournament lead at 5-under par.
He gave three shots back to the field, but the Pekin native was in a good mood after making the cut and heading to the weekend six shots off of Matt Kuchar's lead.
"I'm certainly not out of it," he said. "I'm six back right now. If I can start hitting it well, my putter feels so good that I'll be in good shape. I'm tired but I'm glad I can play two more days and hopefully move up the leaderboard."
Points, who sported the "LEGO" belt buckle on Thursday, offered up these gems - including some candid thoughts on the final major championship of the season - during his post-round presser with a handful of media.
* "The 18th hole is the worst optical tee shot in the game of golf. You've got a howling, 40 mile-an-hour left to right wind that you've got to try to hook it into and not see the fairway, but you can't hit it in the bunkers left. Like today, I ran it through the fairway right and had nothing. It's just a tough hole."
* Reporter: How does (the wind) make certain holes easier or harder based on where the wind is blowing?
Points turns and looks at him ... "Some are downwind and they make them shorter and some are into the wind and make them longer. That's really it. It's not rocket science."
After the laughter subsided, he did answer the question as best he could: A driveable par 4 that's straight downwind makes it a lot easier when you can hit driver or 3-wood just over the green just over the green and chip it up. Or on the par 5, 11th that's 600 yards that's playing straight downwind you can hit driver and 3-wood or 2-iron on the green. It makes it a whole lot easier. But then it also makes 17 playing 225 into the wind, raining and wind in and off the right makes it a lot harder hole. The 7th hole was really hard, going straight down and off the right to a front pin. It was like almost 200 yard and I hit 7-iron and it was long from the moment it left my club. It was just going to go over the green. I don't think I can hit an 8-iron 200 yards."
* Reporter: Are you still excited about being here, even though you've been worn out (playing 7 straight weeks?)"You know what...sure."
It's not that big of a deal?
"No. It's another week. Me and another guy were talking earlier...this doesn't, unfortunately, feel like a major, like the British Open did (this year at St. Andrews), doesn't feel like a major like the U.S. Open did (in 2008 at Torrey Pines). It's certainly a great event and it's a major, but it doesn't have quite the same feeling as the other majors."
"I don't know. I don't know. I can't put my finger on it."
Is it because it's not far from home, a public course and you can drive up anytime and play it?
"No. Not at all. None of that. It's just for some reason, the PGA. It's just never...from even when I was a kid. Sure it gets exciting...you always want to win, you want to win every tournament you play in, so it doesn't have any more special meaning. I'm going to do my best to try and win."
* Reporter: Would you like to show something to Corey Pavin and at least make him think about you for the Ryder Cup.
"Yeah. I'm so far off Corey Pavin's radar I'm going to have to shoot a 59 before I even become a blip on his radar."
Well if you won here he'd have to take a look at you."Yeah, no. I still wouldn't be on the radar."
"I'm so far out of this deal on that note. I'll still take the win and I'll take a vacation. I'll go play in a few FedEx Cup tournaments and have a good year."
Bad news for local football fans, Aurora's Larry English will not play Saturday night when the Chicago Bears open their 2010 preseason schedule at San Diego.
The outside linebacker and first-round draft choice last year for the Chargers had looked much improved early in camp according to several reports but has missed several practices in the last week to 10 days with a muscle strain in his foot. That's according to a report from Charger beat writer Kevin Acee in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The game will kick off a little after 8 p.m. and be televised on Fox.
I wonder if this guy updatd his Facebook status to "single" after this aired...and has since circulated the innernets...
Hmmmm ... didn't he miss a practice last weekend with a sore foot?
Linebacker Larry English (sore foot) and left tackle Brandyn Dombrowski (groin tightness) were held out of practice Saturday by the San Diego Chargers. Coach Norv Turner said the team was just being cautious and that both players would have been able to go if it were game day during the season.
Here's what the San Diego Union Tribune reported:
Noting that English had a "great practice two days ago," Turner said the linebacker irritated his foot in the process. "What we're doing," said Turner, "is pulling back before it becomes something chronic."
I must have a couple hundred Keith Comstock commons from the late 80s and early 90s, but I definitely don't have this one.
I guess bass fishing is really a sport - according to this story "A professional angler found to have stuffed lead sinkers down the throats of fish."
Put another feather in his cap.
East Aurora's Ryan Boatright will be in prestigious company this weekend in Chicago after being named toe the USA 2011 team for the international basketball program adidas Nations, by the international shoe company.
Boatright and Morgan Park's Wayne Blackshear are the only seniors from Illinois on the team, which will compete against international teams from AFrica, Asia, Europe and Latin America as well as a 2012 American team made up of juniors (none from Illinois).
At the camp, which runs from Thursday through Sunday at Attack Athletics Center in Chicago, the players will train and compete and be counseled by current and former NBA players and coaches Frank Johnson and Eric Musselman.
The teams will compete in a tournament, capped Monday by a doubleheader at the UIC Pavilion with a title game and third-place game. Tickets for that event are $10 and can be purchased online through ticketmaster or by calling 312-413-5740.
Apparently the news we brought you last night about a Larry English foot injury wasn't as bad as it might have been. He was back at practice on Monday and doing quite well, according to several reports anyway.
Could it be time to break out the Charger Kool-aid? You decide. Remember, the season is still 41 days away.
On Monday, the North County Times' Scott Bair reported:
"Top developments from Monday's practice
1. OLB Larry English is having a great camp. He was in the backfield several times during the morning workout, creating pressure he couldn't generate last season. He seems much more comfortable at linebacker -- he played defensive end in college -- a positive sign with Merriman continuing his holdout."
The same day, Bleacher Report, which publishes an internet newsletter on the Chargers had this from its analyst Jeremy Beckett:
"Believe The Hype:
Sign on San Diego reported that Larry English positively tore it up at practice today. Stating not only will he make Chargers fans forget about Shawne Merriman, but Junior Seau as well.
Apparently, English got to the quarterback on nearly every passing play.
Whats with the Change? So good, so fast, how?
English played his college ball at Northern Illinois as a defensive end. He was converted to Outside Linebacker when he became a Charger.
Although he was very close to a lot of big plays last season, he fell just short. He has devoted his off season into learning his new position, and developing a passion for it. That passion cant be denied. English is going to shock a lot of folks this year."
and his want to trade prospects for veterans...like Daniel Hudson for Edwin Jackson...don't.
Chances are very, very good that Hudson will turn out to be no better than an average major leaguer.
I went back to the offseason between the 2000 and 2001 seasons - Kenny's first - and looked at all the trades he made for so-called "top prospects." (stats are as of July 31)
Go through the list - tell me which one you wish you had back. Seriously.
December 14, 2000: Royce Clayton traded by the Texas Rangers to for Aaron Myette and Brian Schmack.
* In parts of 6 seasons, Myette has gone 6-12 with an 8.16 ERA in 154.1 innings. Has not pitched in majors since 2004.
* Schmack appeared in 11 games for the Tigers in 2003.
January 14, 2001: David Wells traded by the Toronto Blue Jays with for Mike Williams (minors), Kevin Beirne, Brian Simmons and Mike Sirotka.
* Beirne appeared in 17 games for BlueJays & Dodgers, last pitched in majors in 2002.
* Simmons appeared in 60 games for BlueJays, hitting .178. Last played in majors in 2001.
* Sirotka never pitched again.
December 13, 2001: Todd Ritichie traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates for Josh Fogg, Sean Lowe and Kip Wells.
* In 8 years, Fogg has gone 62-69 with Pittsburgh, Colorado and Cincinnati with a 5.03 ERA in 232 games. Last pitched in 2009.
* Lowe pitched two more years for Pittsburgh, Colorado and Royals an ERA of 5.79 in '02 and 6.25 in '03. Last pitched in 2003.
* Wells went 47-78 with an ERA over 4.00 in 8 years. Last pitched in 2009.
March 27, 2002: Damaso Marte traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with to the Chicago White Sox for Matt Guerrier.
* Guerrier is currently in the Twins bullpen. In 7 seasons as a middle reliever, has a 15-23 record and 3.36 ERA in 366 games and 446.2 innings.
July 1, 2003 & July 18, 2004: Carl Everett traded by the Texas Rangers for Frank Francisco, Josh Rupe and Anthony Webster (minors) Traded by the Montreal Expos for Gary Majewski and Jon Rauch.
* Francisco is currently in Texas bullpen. In 6 seasons has 17-15 record with 3.78 ERA in 269 games & 276.1 innings. Had 25 saves in 2009.
* Rupe has pitched this year for Royals - in 5 seasons has appeared in 81 games with a 5.00 ERA as a reliever.
* Majewski has pitched this year for Houston - in 6 seasons has 9-13 record with 4.75 ERA with Montreal, Washington, Cincinnati & Houston in 231 games and 242.1 innings as a reliever
* Rauch is currently in Twins bullpen. In 7 seasons has 31-26 with an ERA under 3.80. Had 18 saves in 2008, opened 2010 as Twins closer and has 21 saves before trade deadline.
January 15, 2003: Bartolo Colon traded by the Montreal Expos for Rocky Biddle, Orlando Hernandez (never pitched for Sox in '03 - was a flip), Jeff Liefer
* In two seasons, Biddle went 9-16 with 5.83 ERA in 120 games in bullpen. Last pitched in 2004.
* Liefer played for Montreal, Milwaukee and Cleveland, hitting under .200 in 79 games. Last appeared in majors in 2005
June 27, 2004: Freddy Garcia traded by the Seattle Mariners for Mike Morse, Miguel Olivo and Jeremy Reed.
* Morse has appeared in 2010 for Washington. In 6 seasons and 182 games with 12 HR, 65 RBI, with .304 average. Was suspended for PEDs while with Seattle.
* Olivo is currently with Colorado. In 6.5 seasons since leaving Chicago, has played for Seattle, Florida, Kansas City and Colorado. Has played in 100+ games three times. A career .249 hitter.
* Reed appeared in 14 games for Toronto in 2010 - in 7 seasons and 476 games has hit 12 HR, drove in 110 and is a career .253 hitter.
December 20, 2005: Javier Vasquez traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks for Orlando Hernandez, Luis Vizcaino and Chris Young
* In 5 seasons Young finished 4th in 2007 ROY voting and was a 2010 All-Star. In 572 games has hit 88 HR (32 in '07), 268 RBI (85 in '08) with 538 K's. Has a career .241 avg., .312 OBP & .755 OPS.
March 20, 2006: Matt Thornton traded by the Seattle Mariners for Joe Borchard.
* Borchard played for Seattle and Florida in '06 & '07 appearing in 199 games. Last played in majors in 2007. A career .205 hitter.
December 23, 2006: John Danks traded by the Texas Rangers for David Paisano (minors) and Brandon McCarthy.
* Currently injured for Texas - in three seasons with Rangers has gone 13-15 with 4.68 ERA in 45 games (44 starts)
July 23, 2006: Sandy Alomar, Jr. traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers for B.J. LaMura (minors).
Here are the trades from the last 2+ seasons. It's a little hard at this point to truly evaluate each move, but as of right now it looks like no harm, no foul....
December 3, 2007: Carlos Quentin traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks for Chris Carter (minors).
January 3, 2008: Nick Swisher traded by the Oakland Athletics to for Fautino de los Santos (minors), Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Sweeney.
* Sweeney currently on A's - in 3 seasons in Oakland (331 games) has hit .291 with .347 OBP & .740 OPS. Has hit 12 HRs and drove in 134. Has 88 extra base hits.
* Gonzalez currently on A's - in 3 seasons has gone 16-17 in 51 games (45 starts) with 4.98 ERA. 8.5 K's/9, 1.543 WHIP in 258.2 innings.
July 7, 2009: Tony Pena traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks for Brandon Allen.
* Allen appeared in 32 games for Ariz., in 2009 - hit .202 with .669 OPS, 4 HR & 14 RBI.
July 31, 2009: Jake Peavy traded by the San Diego Padres for Dexter Carter (minors), Aaron Poreda, Clayton Richard and Adam Russell.
* Richard is currently a starter for the Padres - in 2 seasons he has gone 13-7 with a 3.67 ERA in 196 innings with a 7.1 K/9 and 1.393 WHIP
* Russell has appeared in 6 games with Padres in 2010 - in 21 games over 2 seasons has 3-1 record, 3.68 ERA, 1.591 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 in 22 innings as a reliever.
* Poreda has not appeared in major leagues in 2010 - in four games in 2009 went 1-0 with 3.86 ERA.
at least enough of a sport for me to show you this! Hilarious!
Aurora's Larry English missed his second straight practice Sunday with what was reported as a "tweaked" ligament in his foot by San Diego Chargers' beat writer Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.